You may have heard the saying “the money is in the list” and I’m willing to bet that the first place your mind went is to thinking that a bigger list is better. While this is mostly true, it isn’t completely true. Having a bigger list will definitely yield results, but it’s the engagement level of your list; the degree to which they do what you ask them to do – that is even more important and profitable.
This is where so many of us (that includes me and many of the gurus of email marketing) are always looking for ways to get close to our list, provide real value and generate engagement, conversation and conversion.
Without a doubt, the single best way to accomplish this is to segment customers.
Segmentation literally means grouping. When you group your list into categories that represent the subjects that your audience is most interested in.
Why Segmentation is Critical to Your Success
Imagine walking into a room full of people who are your potential customers. Chances are that all of those people aren’t sitting in one big group. They are grouped into smaller clusters having specific conversations. You wouldn’t walk up to a group talking about football and suddenly start talking about gourmet cooking.
Every time you send a mass email to a broad group of people on your list – your are doing exactly that. You are talking about what matters to you instead of what matters to them.
Segment Customers to Save Money
Let me explain. When you segment customers and group your list into specific segments, this allows you to target your communications and conversations around topics that are meaningful to them.
Research shows that targeted and segmented emails generate an 8% click-through rate compared to general email sends, which generate just a 3% click-through rate. Furthermore, Jupiter Research reveals that relevant emails drive 18 times more revenue than broadcast emails.
Common Segments to Consider
If you’re just starting on the path to segment customers on your email list, then there are several options that you can try:
- Where they are in the selling cycle: Look at the data you already have available. Figure out the most logical groupings based on the information your recipients want from you, the questions they might have, or their stage in the buying cycle.
- Awareness (know): Leads have either become aware of your product or service, or they have become aware that they have a need that must be fulfilled.
- Evaluation (see): Leads are aware that your product or service could fulfill their need, and they are trying to determine whether you are the best fit.
- Purchase (buy): Leads are ready to make a purchase.
List Segmentation Tips:
- Give your audience lots of ways and reasons to opt in – emails, blog posts, websites, squeeze pages.
- Create a list of keywords and phrases  (PDF worksheet) that you want to be found for.
- Create a series of free downloads that include ebooks, videos, white papers, templates and checklists.
- Create squeeze pages with specific offers and gifts around different topics your audience might be interested in.
- Create feature box opt-ins inside your website. Where you might normally have a feature article, place a featured download where people can opt in.
- Insert an opt-in inside an article or post on a specific topic. This is an ideal place to use the summary of an article with a “read more” hyperlink. Then, when the reader clicks on “read more” an opt-in box pops us asking them to register (for free) to see the rest of the article. Then you can place them on a specific interest list that matches the subject of the article.
- Another creative opt-in feature is using an opt-in bar or “toaster” pop-up bar that appears or pops up after a certain period of time such as 10 seconds. Don’t worry, you can always create a setting that makes this option only appear once for people. You can insert text that says, “Is this your first time here? Register to get access to more articles like this.”
- Place box ads that feature a download or video that will educate your readers and when they click, route them to a simple squeeze page where they can get more info and register to receive specific topics.
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